Flexibility breeds flexibility

One of the most difficult balances to achieve is the balance between work life and home life, especially for moms. Maternal guilt is real! We internalize all the looks we receive when the pie for the bake sale is store-bought. I at least buy well. While I grocery shop at Rainbow, I buy pies at the boutique bakeries. This assuages the guilt somewhat.

As a manager I try to remember that people had lives outside of work. While in theory it would make sense to keep work life and home life separate, I would argue that the traits people exhibit in their home lives are part of the reason you hired them in the first place. I am a results oriented leader. As long as we hit our goals and the work gets done, I am happy.  I truly believe that flexibility, within reason, breeds flexibility.

On a calm weekend in 2010 someone decided to commit news and shoot a St. Paul cop. It happened to be a weekend when we only had one day time shooter. I came into the office to direct news coverage. I began thinking of whom to call to cover the shooting and my phone rang. It was a staffer who was off that day asking if I was alright coverage wise. I was just about to call them, because I was not OK! I needed bodies fast! I shared this and they made a plan and hit the road to cover the story. A lot of journalists understand the fast-paced unpredictable nature of news and are ready to pitch in, this was different, it was  an unspoken agreement.

This particular staffer had a busy home life with two active children and a traveling spouse. I often made sure they could start their day from home, make it to sports games etc when their spouse was out of the country. As long as the work got done, I was not going to mandate that this responsible member of my staff were sitting at their desk, just for the sake of making them do it. This respect for their family meant that they were willing to help me, the way I had helped them, by being flexible and helpful.

It may not always work, by no means should you allow people to take advantage of your kindness, but flexibility can be extremely useful.

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One response to “Flexibility breeds flexibility

  1. I tweeted this yesterday: “Leaders care about you and show it.” Well done.

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